Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fantastic Review for Faith of the Heart!

I was pleased to see BookWenches posted my first review for my latest release. Faith of the Heart was reviewed by Bobby, and I send her my thanks!

Title: Faith of the Heart

Author: Sandy James

Author’s website: http://www.sandy-james.com/

Publisher: Siren Publishing, Inc.

Release Date: June 2009

ISBN: 1-60601-404-8

Length: Novel

Format: Electronic

Genre: Contemporary Paranormal

Sensuality Level: 3

Rating: 4.5
Reviewed by: BD Whitney

Sarah Reid grew up a wild child, partying, drinking to excess, and living her life the way she wanted. That all ended abruptly when her best friend died because Sarah was too drunk to save him from his impulsive behavior, and she has lived since then steeped in guilt. When she survives a lightning strike just to develop the power to heal, Sarah figures that this is God’s way of giving her chance to redeem her sins. Even though each healing leaves her on the verge of coma and makes her progressively weaker, Sarah turns nobody away.

Reporter Joshua Miller lost his wife to cancer a year ago in spite of the efforts of a charlatan faith healer. He is bitter and deeply suspicious of those who claim to heal by touch, so when he hears about Sarah and her claims, he sets out to prove her to be a fraud and a con artist. Fully armed for an encounter with a snake oil salesman, Josh certainly doesn’t expect to find Sarah to be a sensitive, fragile woman who is as genuine as others declare her to be. And who without a doubt has the power to heal. Instead of crucifying her, Josh wants to protect her, and that means getting her away from her mortally ill clients as well as her manipulative sister and greedy brother-in-law.

The last thing that Sarah wants is another exposé on her abilities. Not when it brings the religious fanatics and the haters to her door along with the people who genuinely need her help. But Josh seems to truly care for her, and it doesn’t take long for him and his teen-aged daughter to win a permanent position in Sarah’s heart. Can Josh convince Sarah that she is worth being loved? Her abilities are incredible, but the one thing that Sarah is not capable of healing is her own heart.


Faith of the Heart is Book Four of Sandy James’s Damaged Heroes series. In this story, we revisit a few old friends as well as make some new ones. It is not necessary to have read the previous novels in this series to enjoy this story, but it may enhance the reading experience somewhat. I found this to be well-written and involving, a mixture of both sweet and sensual romance. Along with the interesting paranormal aspect of this novel, Faith of the Heart is a novel about a woman who must learn to love herself before she can move on with her life and accept the love of others.

In this story, Ms. James addresses the painful issue of life in the aftermath of losing a loved one. Both Sarah and Josh have suffered losses that have left them emotionally scarred – Sarah with a soul-deep sense of guilt and Josh with anger and resentment. Each clings to the past and needs the intervention of something earth-shattering in order to move on. Sarah has punished her body almost beyond its limits by healing people; Josh holds on to both a stone from his wife’s graveside as well as his anger at the faith healer who fleeced her. It is only through these two coming together that they realize that they still have a future in spite of the tragedy they have suffered.

As I have noted in the past, one of Ms. James’s great strengths lies in her character development. This story is filled to the brim with vivid and believable characters, from our two main characters all the way down to the small supporting roles. Josh is overall a sympathetic character. He’s a loving father, a thorough journalist, and is obviously bowled over by Sarah. Sure, he makes a few missteps and is sometimes clueless in a way that only a man can be, but there is no malice in his heart. Sarah believes whole-heartedly that she has been given her gift in order to make up for her past. Even though she pushes herself to the point of disaster, she doesn’t give the impression of being a martyr. She’s just someone who refuses to forgive herself. Yet even through her grey haze of sadness, she shows the occasional spark, and this keeps her from being a maudlin figure.

Sarah’s sister Hannah and her brother-in-law Doug fill the role of villain in this story, although calling them such may be a bit of a stretch. They are more annoyances than “bad guys.” They are quintessential ne’er-do-wells and freeloaders, and the character Doug is almost comically so. Ms. James does an excellent job of making them individuals that readers can revile and boo and hiss at.

This story is for the most part sweet and emotional. I certainly found myself sniffing a time or two, and then looking around to see if anyone on the bus noticed. The lovemaking scenes are sensual without being overtly graphic, and they fit comfortably into the rest of the narrative. While I had to suspend my disbelief a tiny bit in order to accept the fact that a thirty-year-old woman could be a virgin, the reasoning behind this is actually quite plausible, and while the contortions that Josh goes through in order to reconcile with Sarah may have felt like a little bit of a stretch, they were still entertaining. Any man who is willing to admit his errors in public like he does is definitely worth hanging on to.

In all, I found Faith of the Heart to be involving and agreeable. I truly enjoyed the characters and their story, and I thought that the faith healing aspect was both unique and well done. Ms. James has definitely given us a treat with this story. Those who enjoy romance are bound to be pleased by this book.

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